Weekend Wrap Up, goodbye September

I can’t believe today is the last day of September. For some reason, Fall has never been a favorite season of mine. Too much change I think, and this fall hasn’t short-changed me on change. I found out Thursday evening that I was being let go, for financial reasons, from my biggest freelance job. Oh the joys of non profits. So, this weekend after re examining our budget and deciding next step, I decided to let go of any bitterness and anger and relax. This too shall pass.

Friday I introduced Ryan to our town’s annual community agriculture fair.

ryan tractor This fair was a staple of my childhood and serves has a firm reminder that we do indeed live in the country.

Have no idea was an agriculture fair is?

First, turn back the clock about 40 years. Upon entering the fair grounds you are immediately transported back to a simple time. A time when sharing a milkshake and funnel cake while perusing the county’s largest squash and top of the line Lego constructions by our town’s finest first graders meant date night. Your romantic evening would be  followed by checking out the best in show in goats and popping  in on the pig auction. Once you decide you don’t have 1k to spend on a hog you go over to watch youngsters run around in mud trying to catch a greased pig while the crowd goes wild. Your highly anticipated Friday night concludes with  watching some burly men race around on horses competing to lasso angry-looking cows while you chow down on the most greasy hamburger and fries you’ll ever know.

quilts

goats

katie tractor

Ryan had no clue what he was getting himself into so it was fun to see him taking it all in.  They have THE best chocolate milkshakes but the line was about 45 minutes long, so after we checked out some cute goats, climbed on tractors, and developed some serious allergies we decided to call it a night. We firmly decided we don’t need to attend the fair again until we have kids some day.

On Saturday I visited one of my best friends, Jeanette, in Philly. We met back in college and have remained close friends. She is my “girl soul mate” and I can’t imagine life with out her.

friends

I kind of took a technology and media break this weekend, so I don’t have many photos of our fun times. Coincidentally my bff Kay Marie lives right down the street from Jeanette so we were able to fit in some quality girl time. In a nut shell we did a lot of boy talk, drank, played board games, and ate a lot. Some things never change.

jnt

On Sunday, I took a nice long nap when I got home. (I guess some things DO change because my 25 year old wouldn’t need a nap after a girl night but my 30 year old self could barely make the drive home). I was also reminded that I have the best husband because I came home to a super clean and organized home complete with the front stoop decorated with pumpkins and mums. Swoon! We ended the weekend with a long walk and eating enchiladas while watching ABC’s premier night.

How did you spend your last September weekend?

xoxo katie

Five Friday Favorites 9-27-2013

Five Friday Favorites

Dedicating Friday to a list of 5 of my favorite things from this week. And because I love alliteration so much, they all must start with F.  Fun!

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Free Yourself

The dangers of social media – I wish I could give up social media – but I know I never will. I just love stalking everyone’s photos too much. That’s pretty much my favorite of social media, the photos. But yet, I find myself on Facebook and twitter way longer than I should be, wasting precious moments of my life. I’m guilty as the rest of the world – taking pictures of my food and stupid selfies.  How far will it go? I hope that in 10 years we’ll look back at this time and laugh to ourselves, “Remember when we were so obsessed with checking our phones every single minute? Remember when we could barely look our friends in the eye because it was so not the norm? Remember when we didn’t let ourselves feel feelings because we were so concerned with the feelings of others. Remember when we couldn’t prove that something happened unless it was documented on social media? I bet the leaves wouldn’t even have changed colors if we didn’t take 200 pictures of them. Remember when nothing was sacred? Remember when we forgot to live our lives?” I really hope that happens.

Inspired by this  post by a fellow “real” blogger Glennon: Six Reasons Social Media is Dangerous For Me  

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Flabbergasted

An open letter to the parents of the Stephentown 300

I’m just simply shocked that this happened. 300 students broke into NFL Brian Holloway’s home for an “epic” house party and destroyed his home. Worse – they documented all of the party preparations and party happenings on social media. It is estimated that there is over $20,000 in damages  and countless items were stolen. Even more shocking; Holloway refused to arrest any of the children. He’d rather help them from making such devastating choices in the future. You can view his personal website, including photos from the damage and screenshots from the students twitter updates here: http://www.helpmesave300.com/

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Fall TV

On a less serious note, all my friends are back on TV! Excited for:

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Fun Find!

Wine Cork Candles

wine cork candles

cute captioning

wine candles wine candles wine candles

We recently did a weekend in the Finger Lakes, NY wine country, and came home with a lot of souvenir wine bottles. I know you can use a simple taper in your wine bottle, but I found these on Amazon and thought they were so fun and cute!  What a great way to showcase your favorite wine bottles and memories. I think they’ll be perfect for outdoor occasions especially – just may want to fill the bottle with sand so it doesn’t tip over. A cheap gift for your wine lover friend. You can buy them on Amazon for under $12.00

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FICTION

The Light Between Oceans

I was memorized by the beauty of this book. Haunting, tragic, and beautiful all at the same time.

The Light Between Oceans

Have a nice weekend!

xoxo katie

Happy to link up with:

Blog Hop

Date Nights are Important

Life is all about learning as you go.  Want to know the biggest lesson I’ve learned since getting married almost four months ago?

datenights

I never really considered “dating” my husband. I mean, we live together and do most things together on the weekend. Isn’t that dating? No, eating stir fry on the couch while binge watching your favorite TV show together does not qualify as a date. I know, that’s basically our favorite thing to do at home.  And why not? It’s relaxing, easy, cheap, and we’re together. But over the summer I learned that defaulting to this every 8 p.m. on a Friday night may be setting us up for disaster.

Why disaster? I have three reasons for you:

1. Stress Dumping

A side effect of Ryan and I not seeing each other all week is that we don’t have the option to gradually catch up or vent about our days.  Most couples can unload about work stress or any other anxiety to each other over a casual dinner every night. They can also casually fit in the occasional nag, like “honey, I really wish you wouldn’t leave your breakfast dishes out”. But, Ryan and I don’t have that luxury. All our stress from the week gets piled up. Additionally, I know I  have resentment about this stress getting piled up. It all comes to a head on Friday evening at some point. Instead of simply being happy about being together, we’re dumping all of this negativity on one another. We’re discussing bills, work, family issues, groceries. How boring!

2. Pressure

Since we don’t see each other during the week, we put a lot of pressure on the weekends. We want to make sure that our time together is the best damn quality time we can have. When I feel pressured or over excited I tend to have minor breakdowns. Think of a four-year old at their birthday party.

3. Routine

We got stuck in the routine of eating at home in front of the TV. The drill was: 7:30: go for a walk and talk about our week. 8:00: have dinner and watch TV and have a drink until bed time. 12: crash. It was comfy and relaxing.  As we were trying to save me, we were so happy over how much mula we were putting into savings each week. Over a few months I gained about 6 pounds. The black lacy nightgown I wore around the house all summer turned from “kinda sexy” into “oh god this is the only thing that fits right now let me be!” We weren’t developing our relationship, we were, simply put, being slobs.

Why are date nights so vital to the success of a marriage? I give you 3 reasons :

1. Putting value on communication

On a date, you have the opportunity to really communicate with one another. You’re not simply re hashing your day and complaining about your boss. This is your time to continue to develop a deeper understanding of one another – to continue to be one another’s best friend. This is important, because you are both bound to change through the years. I know that I want to grow side by side with Ryan – sharing my thoughts and perceptions rather than grow apart.

2.  Allowing  time for romance

This is a new trick that works for me; whenever I feel like I’m being a little moody, selfish, mean during quality time with Ryan, I pause and think to myself “Would I act this way on a first or second date?” It sounds so simple – but be overly kind, try harder, and take the evening to the next level. Whether this simply means choosing real pants over yoga pants or surprising your spouse with their favorite meal or reservations. Impress one another!

3. Strengthen your commitment as a couple

By setting specific romantic time for you and your spouse you a cultivating a strong sense of togetherness and commitment. You are making a point to put one another first. It has been proven that spouses that spend a lot of couple time together enjoy a higher quality relationship, lower stress, and are markedly less likely to divorce.

When you look back, it all makes perfect sense. However, life does tend to get in the way. Since August, Ryan and I have made an effort to schedule special date nights at least twice a month. As we discuss having a baby in the somewhat near future we put together a “before baby bucket list” and we’re having fun setting aside couple time.

What are ways that you have found to make sure you keep the romance alive and schedule couple time in your busy schedule?

 

How NOT to dry your Wedding Bouquet

Tips for brides to be:

I had the most gorgeous flowers at my wedding. I couldn’t have been happier with my florist, Stacia, at Petals with Style. All the wedding arrangements were beautiful combinations of peonies, garden roses, hydrangea, and a touch of dusty miller.

wedding flowers

The bouquets when the first arrived!

My bouquet was simply perfect. Fluffy, lush, and feminine – fitting my Secret Garden theme to a T. I had Stacia decorate my bouquet with my mother’s antique bracelets and a brooch to give it that soft vintage feel and an extra personal touch.

my wedding bouquet

I really wanted to preserve by bouquet. I pictured the dried version looking lovely atop my piano or in the china cabinet. I like so save e v e r y t h i n g. (Just ask my mother – my parent’s basement is still full of stuff from my childhood).

We had a day in between our wedding and the departure for our honeymoon. I took the time to google the best way to dry your wedding bouquet and decided that hanging it upside down in our dark basement would be best. I took the time to make sure it was perfectly secure and wouldn’t fall. I had terrible visions of it coming loose from the ribbon that I was using to secure it and getting totally crushed and crumbled on the concrete floor.

Well, I failed.

ruined bouquet

Upon returning from our honeymoon, I excitedly ran down to the basement to find that mold grew in between all of the flowers layers. Apparently, the basement was too damp. Silly me, I thought the humid 95 + degree garage would be too dry and hot. I was so sad. I thought that maybe if I hung it in the hot garage the mold would simply evaporate after a while.

I took this photo on Monday. Nearly four months after my wedding. The mold is still there. And what did I do after I took the picture? I hung the bouquet back upside down in the garage. I guess that’s its home now. Sad.

DSC_0986

So – lesson learned, pick a hot and dry room over a dark and could be damp room if you want to dry your flowers.

Weekend Wrap-Up or How Michael Buble Saved Me

Saturday night was full of magic. It was one of those nights that reminded me just why I married Ryan. We went to see Michael Bublé in concert and spent the night singing to one another, chair dancing, and waving our hands. I love being cheesy! This was a long week for me, where I was desperately wondering how we were going to make it through the next two years. But Michael and his sweet charm and romantic tunes made it all better.

You see, Michael Bublé and I have some history. For one, I’ve always been in competition with him since he is Ryan’s biggest man crush. Secondly, when I found out Ryan loved Michael I knew he was my type. I love old jazz standards, ballads, and being swept off my feet by crooners. Most men that I knew wouldn’t admit to loving that feeling too, but not Ryan! Thirdly, our first dance at our wedding was Michael’s “Everything”. It was about time we met.

I could listen to Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or Sammy Davis Jr. any day of the week. My living room is quickly transformed to a candlelit salon where my lover and I are dressed to the nines, martinis in hand, and celebrating life and love. I feel swept back to a time where it wasn’t unusual to make time for romance. When women were courted and wooed and love was still a little mysterious. And this all happens in the confines of my small living room.

Seeing Michael live brought that experience to a whole new level. Even though we were sitting up in the cheap seats, surrounded by people, we quickly felt like we were the only people in the room (er arena). In a live setting like that, Ryan and I were both totally present – both feeling the music and listening to the lyrics. Which is rare in our busy, barely have time to talk, schedules.  I felt in love with Ryan a little more that night. Oblivious to those all around us we chair danced our little hearts out, (forced to chair dance since those around us decided not to stand up, how lame were they?!). It felt like Michael was singing only for us.

Two weeks before our wedding,  we were totally crazy and decided to change our first dance to a choreographed routine to “Everything”. (it’s not like we already didn’t have enough on our wedding and law school plates). So, when Michael started singing “Everything” on Saturday night, I was transported back to those long nights that we practiced our choreographed routine.  Every night for two weeks we practiced and practiced either in our pj’s in our cramped living room, our hot and muggy garage, or, if we were feeling brave, at a studio at our YMCA.

In the end, our dance was choppy and clunky and not even close to professional. But to us, it was an awesome achievement and we had so much fun practicing and tripping over each others feet. I can’t tell you how many times Ryan almost dropped me during those lifts or how many times one of us almost gave the other a black eye from our arms wailing every which way.

I was an emotional mess the two weeks before our wedding. However, those couples hours a night that we shared with Michael Buble on repeat (and repeat and repeat and repeat) provided moments where I could giggle and have fun. I was reminded that this wedding, this day, and this dance were about us.

You can watch our First Dance here.

So, on Saturday night, Ryan and I were totally re enacting our dance moves – in our chairs. We must have looked ridiculous and I just LOVE being ridiculous.

After a Sunday routine of errands and the gym I whipped up some Mexican Corn Dip and these delicious cake batter party blondies (recipe from Gracie over at Girl Meets Life ) for my RDS meeting. BTW, I have since renamed these miraculous bites of heaven, Rainbow Brite Blondies.

Rainbrow Brite Blondies

My Rainbrow Brite Blondies (cake batter, sprinkles, and white chocolate)

You haven’t officially met the lovely ladies of RDS – but we’re all former colleagues who get together for a monthly meeting of the Red Drink Society. We call them meetings because we have some serious discussions over heavy eating and drinking.

I love it because we’re all different ages with all unique personalities. We’ve been meeting for over 3 years now and they’re like a family.

RDS wedding

The lovely RDS ladies at my wedding

This weekend full of love got me ready to conquer another week. Let’s do this!

A Tribute to Sex and the City – Five Favorite Episodes

Wednesday evening I attended a special Sex and the City night at a local independent theatre, Zoetropolis, with my friend Ashley. It was a fun girls’ night out where they showed the very first episode and the very last episode with trivia and a best shoe contest (complete with prizes!) in between. We snacked on cheese and cookies, drank cosmos,  and met new friends.

The theatre is adorable, you get to sit in comfy couches or armchairs that make you feel right at home. I got most excited about the trivia – I know way too much about this show. As soon as we walked in the door I started eyeing up the competition like a hungry predator. I knew I had it in the bag – we totally won the most trivia questions AND best shoes. Score!

Did you know it’s been 15 years since the show debuted in 1998? Kind of crazy. I was a freshman in high school when Sex and the City first came out – I didn’t start watching until I was a senior. I remember renting the VHS tapes (yes VHS!) from the public library and it felt pretty scandalous to my innocent 18-year-old self. I started buying the DVD’s when I was a sophomore in college. Since then I’ll estimate that I’ve seen the entire series more than two dozen times. And I don’t mean just catching an episode here and there on E!, I mean going through all 94 episodes in a row. Sex and the City I’ve watched the series time and time again while running on my treadmill. The adventures of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha kept me going – I could usually reach 4.5 – 5 miles while watching 2 episodes. All my DVD cases are broken – why were they made so cheaply?! It got me through the countless break ups and boy confusion of my twenties. Remember all those quizzes trying to tell you if you’re a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, or a Charlotte? In truth we’re all a little piece of each of these women. (I still find myself a Carrie with bits of Charlotte that shine through as I get older). I was so glad I was not the only one dating freaks and non committal boys and over analyzing all of my relationships!

For all your non-SATC lovers out there, at the heart of it, the show isn’t truly about sex. Us fans are often labeled as artless, misguided, materialistic, and extremely naïve girls. I take offense to that. While the show has materialistic and yes shallow moments, Sex and the City truly shines in the moments highlighting female friendships, self love, and adoration for New York City. Like me, Carrie was simply a woman naively searching for love but ended up finding herself instead. Love was only an added bonus. And that, my friends, is beautiful, no matter how you package it.

So I dedicate today’s Five Friday Favorites to my top Five Sex and the City episodes. This was hard to narrow down – there are so many I love, even if it’s for one emotional scene or good laugh. My top five favorites all involve Carrie and the girls discovering their true selves. Two of my favorites also serve as a beautiful tribute to New York City.  So without further delay:

 5. 

 The Post it Always Sticks Twice 

Season 6 Episode 7

post it After initially telling Carrie that he can’t be in a relationship, Jack Berger briefly returns, only to break up with her on a post-it note the following morning. Charlotte is ecstatic about her engagement to Harry while Samantha refused to be labeled as Smith’s “girlfriend”. An excited Miranda can fit back into her skinny jeans and they all head out to the new club “Bed”. Carrie is so devastated from her break up and declares this won’t be “the day that I got broken up with on a post it note”. After buying pot from strangers on the street, Carrie’s gets her wish – the day turns into “the day I got arrested for smokin’ a doobie”.

4.

A Woman’s Right to Shoes

Season 6, Episode 9

Manolo Carrie is forced to remove her shoes at an old friends baby-shower – which leads to her Manolos getting lost. When she asks her friend to reimburse her, she is told that $484 is a waste to spend on shoes and gives her $200. Carrie points out that singles don’t get any gifts after graduation, totally not fair! Samantha learns even her bravado is helpless when it comes to children and Miranda meets and instantly falls for rich new upstairs neighbor Dr. Robert Leeds. Meanwhile, Harry moves in and Charlotte freaks out over his bachelor habits, leaving dripping teabags around and walking around and sitting nude on her white (gasp!) couch! In the end, Carrie registers herself at Manolo Blahnik, in recognition of her just-announced marriage to herself. The only item that she registers for is a single pair of the missing $485 shoes, and Kyra finally comes around and replaces the missing Manolos.

3.

Anchors Away

Season 5 Episode 1  

anchors away Notable Quote: “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.” Carrie

This episode is a favorite as it highlights the most important relationship in the series, that of Carrie Bradshaw and NYC. This was the first episode filmed after the events of 9/11 and was filled with New York symbolism. Carrie is still reeling from her loss of Big and Aiden and wonders if she has met her quota of great loves. Charlotte is ready to say goodbye to her life as Mrs. MacDougal and can’t wait to meet new men. Samantha is giving Richard hell after he cheated on her and broke her heart. It’s Fleet Week and the girls (minus Miranda who is at home adjusting to motherhood) are determined to live it up in the city. At the end of the night, Carrie turns down a charming Southern sailor and decides she is happy enough to go home alone and be single for the time being.

2.

I Heart NY

Season 4 Episode 18


 Notable quotes: “If you’re tired you take a nap-a, you don’t move to Napa.” Carrie

“I got to thinking about fate. That crazy concept that we’re not really responsible for the course our lives take. That it’s all predestined, written in the stars. Maybe that explains why, if you live in a city, where you can’t even see the stars, your love life tends to feel a little more random. And even if our every man, every kiss, every heartache, is pre-ordered from some cosmic catalogue, can we still take a wrong step and wander off our own personal milky way? I couldn’t help but wonder, can you make a mistake and miss your fate?” Carrie

Big shocks Carrie with the news that he is moving to Napa. While still gathering her thoughts on Big leaving, they share a romantic moment dancing to “Moon River” and Carrie declares that they are going on one last big “New York” date. Samantha suspects that Richard is cheating and follows him in disguise, she got a wig from the Raquel Welch wig line. Carrie takes Big out for his New York send off, complete with a carriage ride through Central Park. However, the night is quickly interrupted when Miranda calls to say she is in labor. Carrie arrives in time to see Miranda give birth to baby Brady. Samantha’s suspicions are proven true when she walks in on Richard and another woman and she is heartbroken. After the birth, Carrie attempts to rush back to catch Big but fails. Upon arriving at his apartment she finds the “Moon River” record and a ticket to Napa.

1. 

An American Girl in Paris Part Duex

Season 6, Episode 20

An American Girl in Paris part duex

An American Girl in Paris Part Duex Notable Quote:

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”  – Carrie

A desperately lonely Carrie continues her stint in Paris with Petrovsky. After lunch with Petrovsky’s ex-wife she learns that Juliet and Petrovsky split because she was tired of always coming in second place to his art. Meanwhile, Mr. Big has finally realized that he cannot live without Carrie and sets out to Paris to bring her back to NY. Back at home, Charlotte and Harry’s wish comes true when they find out that they are getting a baby girl from China. Samantha finally admits that Smith means more to her than any other man. Miranda suggests that she and Steve take in his mom who just suffered a stroke. In a touching moment, Magda tells Mirada “this is love”. Back in Paris, a depressed Carrie realizes that she does not belong here and after a horrible fight with Petrosky she runs into Big in the hotel lobby and they understand they are truly meant to be. Carrie heads back to NY with Big to start the next phase of her life.

The perfect ending to all the women’s character arcs. I cry every time:

What are some of your favorite memories and characters from the show?

xoxo katie

Straight from the White House!

cauliflower mac and cheese

I present you with a super duper easy recipe straight from Michelle Obama’s kitchen!

This Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a favorite of Malia and Sasha and is now my go to comfort food dish. At first I was little apprehensive, I like cauliflower and all, but why ruin something as wonderful as macaroni and cheese? I was wrong – it is delicious. The cauliflower masks itself as additional cheese so  you think eating extra gooey and warm cheese when you’re actually getting a dose of healthy cauliflower. It is also man approved as Ryan said “gotta save this recipe!” (which I believe also means kid approved) Wohoo for being able to sneak veggies into something that is typically void of nutrients.

This was such a fast meal to make too – took me all of 20 minutes to prepare and then another 25 to bake. Perfect for a busy evening!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my new favorite:

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces of pasta shells
1 cup skim milk
1 pound of your favorite mixing cheese (I used 1/2 a pound of skinny gouda and 1/2 a pound of sharp cheddar)
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Steam the cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Puree the cauliflower, add some of the steaming liquid to thin the puree a tad bit.
  3. In a large casserole dish, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Add the milk, both cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the butter and breadcrumbs with your fingers until it resembles damp sand. Sprinkle across the top of the pasta mixture, then place the dish in the oven for about 25 minutes until the top is crispy and the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 4 to 6.

Enjoy!

xoxo katie